June 13--Executives of Supervalu Inc. plan to reorganize the company by separating its wholesale and retail operations, which could help facilitate its plans to sell its Kirkwood-based Shop 'n Save grocery chain.
Under the proposal, Minneapolis-based Supervalu would restructure into a holding company that oversees both units. That would allow Supervalu to maximize its wholesale operations by becoming "the wholesale supplier of choice for grocery retailers across the United States," said Supervalu President and CEO Mark Gross in a regulatory filing detailing the new structure.
In the filing, Supervalu executives said they continue to make progress toward a sale of Shop 'n Save, which operates more than 30 stores in the St. Louis area.
Supervalu in April announced it would pursue the sale of the grocery chain.
Analysts and industry experts have said a buyer could be hard to come by as Schnucks and Dierbergs -- the two most obvious potential buyers -- have stores near most Shop 'n Save locations, and large grocers like Kroger seem hesitant to break into the market.
In St. Louis, about 3,300 Shop 'n Save union-represented workers are at risk if Supervalu can't find a buyer for all or part of the business.
In May, Supervalu announced it would close its Maplewood store at 7355 Manchester Road after the company decided not to renew its lease there. Stores in Ballwin, Ellisville and Ferguson have also been mentioned as potential stores that could suffer the same fate, though Supervalu has not commented on those locations.
Supervalu for most of this year has faced pressure from Blackwells Capital LLC, one of its largest shareholders, to split its retail and wholesale units.
The proposed corporate restructuring plan will be voted on by investors at Supervalu's 2018 annual meeting.
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